"how to save money"
A L A B A M A A & M A N D A U B U R N U N I V E R S I T I E S 101 Ways to HE-562 Save Money C utting costs is a high priority for Save on Transportation many Alabama families. The follow- ing suggestions can help you if you 9 Keep your car in good running condition. It will be safer and will cost less to operate. will practice them. Some won’t apply to your situation; some you are already doing. But, 10 Walk more; drive less. You will save gasoline and improve your health. many will be new ideas or ideas you know you 11 Learn how to do some of your own car maintenance chores. Change the oil, oil ﬁlters, and air ﬁlters. should have been trying before now. Read through the suggestions and mark those that appeal to you and that you want to start practicing. 12 levels. Use self-service gasoline pumps. Anyone can do it! Don’t forget to check the oil and water Save on Energy 13 Form a car pool to go to work, to meetings, and even on shopping trips. 1 Have an expert check the insulation in your house to make sure it is adequate. If it is not, in- sulate where needed. You can do open areas, such 14 Ask yourself each time you get in your car, “Is this trip really necessary?” as the attic, yourself. It will save both heating and cooling costs. 15 List “things to do” and “things to buy” before leaving home. Forgetting and making second 2 Turn off the air conditioning and open the windows in moderate weather. trips are costly. 3 Wear warm clothes in the house in cold weath- er so you can lower your thermostat setting. Save on Clothing 4 Take care of home repairs as soon as the need arises. Delay can make the problem worse and 16 Study your wardrobe, determine your needs, work out a clothing budget, and stay with it. Clothes bought on impulse rarely ﬁt in your budget repair costs higher. or your wardrobe. 5 Close the doors and turn off the heat or air conditioning to rooms that you are not using. 17 Buy the best quality you can afford, particu- larly in clothes that will last for several years. This is called “Investment Dressing.” Think in terms 6 Choose equipment with higher energy efﬁcien- cy ratios (EER). Check the labels for EER. of cost per wearing. 7 Move to a smaller house if the one you live in is bigger than you really need. 18 Buy color-coordinated clothes you can mix and match. Buy all-season styles and fabrics when possible. This way you don’t have to buy as many clothes. 8 Use energy saving window treatments, such as insulated or heavy draperies and storm windows. 19 Know how to spot a bargain. When you buy a garment, check its construction, care in- structions, ﬁber content, and other label informa- tion. Be sure it will last and will be easy to care for. Visit our Web site at: www.aces.edu 20 Buy designs that will stay in style. 34 Cut your recreation costs by planning more activities and games at home. 21 Buy wash and wear as much as possible. Clothes that require dry cleaning are expensive to care for. 35 Entertain friends and relatives at home simply. 22 Choose clothes with simple trim; they won’t go out of style as quickly. Trim should be of 36 Use your sewing skills to make gifts: aprons, place mats, linens, hand towels, pillows, needlework. Or, make pictures, wall hangings, good quality and should require the same care as chair seat covers, and decorative screens. the rest of the garment. 23 Shop factory-outlet stores. Don’t assume there is something wrong with clothes sold 37 Use some of your homemade jams and jellies for gifts. there. They could be surplus, samples, or discon- tinued lines. Any imperfect or damaged items must be tagged or advertised as such. And, the ﬂaws in 38 Start slips from some of your plants; then pot them for gifts. some may be so minor that they don’t matter at all. 39 Plan carefully and thoroughly as the ﬁrst step in economical decorating. 24 Accessories can add a new look to your wardrobe for a much smaller cost than buying major items. 40 Consider remodeling rather than building a new house. 25 Adapt what you have to current styles in- stead of dashing out to buy something new. 41 Learn to paint and to wallpaper. 26 When you outgrow clothing, exchange with friends and relatives or recycle them. 42 Learn to reﬁnish furniture. 27 Contribute clothing to a “nearly new” shop sponsored by a charitable organization. Your 43 Make your own draperies, curtains, spreads, slipcovers, and table covers. gift may be tax deductible if you get a signed re- ceipt for its estimated value. 44 Learn to clean, repair, and restore household items yourself. Learn to maintain and repair the house and equipment. 28 Learn to sew, but don’t rush out and buy a lot of fabric that you’ll never get around to making into garments. 45 weeds. Make dried ﬂower arrangements from gar- den ﬂowers, wildﬂowers, and decorative 29 Take good care of your clothing and shoes. They will last longer. 46 Decorate your home with items from nature or use family creations. Save in the Home 30 Cut the cost of your long distance calls as much as 60 percent by dialing yourself and 47 Take advantage of free or low-cost learning opportunities, trips, and community services, such as schools, workshops, fairs, libraries, con- using the daily and weekend specials. Plan what certs, hikes, public tennis courts, home shows, you need to say and limit talking time. Extension programs, and other adult education courses. 31 Use fewer paper products, such as paper plates, cups, and towels, so they won’t have to be replaced as often. 48 Hold a garage sale. Sell those items you no longer need, use, or want. 32 Strive for a simpler lifestyle. This means owning fewer nonessential things and hav- ing less to clean and maintain. Buy less clutter and 49 Plan an outdoor area for living. Landscape to beautify and enjoy it. junk. 50 Buy things that will require as little maintenance as possible. 33 Be creative; use what you have in new and better ways. 2 Alabama Cooperative Extension System 51 Buy furniture at auctions, garage sales, or second-hand shops. 66 When you shop, compare the price per unit: pound, ounce, dozen, package, or square foot. Take your calculator with you. 52 Buy low-cost household cleaning products or learn to make your own. 67 Buy fresh fruits and vegetables, fruit juices and milk drinks, oatmeal and peanut butter cookies, and popcorn instead of junk food. You’ll Save on Food be healthier. 53 Feed your family well from the Food Guide Pyramid. Keep them healthy and you’ll save on medical bills. 68 Grow your own fruits and vegetables. Can, freeze, and dry some of them for future use. 54 Plan your meals one week at a time. First, review the grocery ads to take advantage Save on Children’s Expenses of specials. Make a shopping list from your menu plan with the ads. 69 Buy or make children’s clothing with built-in growth features. 55 Plan one meatless day per week. 70 Use good quality fabrics, buttons, and trims from out-of-style adult clothes to make children’s clothing. 56 When you use the oven, try to cook more than one item while it is hot. Cook the main dish, dessert, vegetables, quick breads, or other 71 Shop at discount stores for children’s clothes. foods at the same time in the oven. 57 Stretch ground meat with bread crumbs, oatmeal, or tomato sauce. 72 Select children’s clothes that are functional and comfortable. 58 Mix one-part nonfat dry milk with one part regular milk. The family will never know the 73 Teach children proper care for clothing, toys, furniture, and equipment so replace- ments, repairs, and maintenance will be reduced. difference. 59 Prepare some of your own convenience foods, master mixes, and desserts at home. 74 Involve children in understanding their envi- ronment. Reward them in some way for con- serving resources. 60 Prepare a large quantity of standard recipes, such as spaghetti sauce, chili, pastries, and stews. Then label and freeze them for later use. 75 Save household items that children can play with such as egg cartons, meat trays, old stockings, and cardboard boxes of all sizes. This not only saves time but also allows you to buy larger amounts of basic ingredients at lower prices. 76 Devise creative, inexpensive entertainment for children. 61 Waste less! Each year Alabamians throw many dollars worth of food into garbage cans. This happens not only at home but also in 77 Interest children in budgeting their money. Give them allowances, and let them learn restaurants and school cafeterias. to save and stretch their money. 62 Eat less expensive foods; drink less expen- sive beverages. 78 Start a “child-care pool” with a group of friends to save on babysitting fees. 63 Entertain with “pot lucks” or inexpensive buffets such as lasagna and salad. 79 Buy basic gifts or supplies when prices are reduced, such as after Christmas or Easter, and save them for the following season. 64 Grocery shop when you are not hungry. It will help you avoid impulse buying. 80 Insist the children do some sort of work, besides regular chores, as soon as they are 65 Cut your food shopping trips to no more than one a week. You will save gasoline, old enough. time, and money. 81 Involve children in gardening. 101 Ways to Save Money 3 Save on General Living Expenses 93 Learn the principles for cutting family living costs. Learn, practice, and develop skills in 82 Distinguish between needs and wants— consider values, goals, and resources. the marketplace, in the use of credit, in thrift, and in using ﬁnancial institutions. 83 Know alternatives for increasing income. 94 Substitute other resources for money. Learn to barter, borrow, share, switch, substitute, simplify, and conserve goods and services. 84 Know how much things cost. Comparison shop. 95 Establish a safe level of credit. 85 Know when to use cash, checks, or credit. 96 Set aside a realistic emergency fund equal to 2- to 6-months take-home pay. 86 Beware of little expenses. “A small leak will sink a great ship.” 97 Shop for credit just as you shop for merchandise. Consider the cost of credit as 87 Shop with a list; don’t buy on impulse. If you see something you really want that you didn’t plan to buy, wait a day before buying it. a part of the cost of the item you are buying. Know the annual percentage rate as well as the cost of credit in dollars and cents. 88 Follow proven buying guidelines. Consider price per unit and watch weights and measures. Check your sales slips. 98 Shop sales carefully. A seasonal sale may save 10 to 25 percent; a clearance may save 50 to 75 percent. Consider the actual savings in Count your change. dollars and cents. 89 Pay promptly. Don’t build up interest charges for late payments. 99 Remember, if you don’t need it, it is not a good buy at any price. 90 Know how much money you have. Plan your spending. 100 Recycle. It will save money and reduce landﬁll space. 91 Don’t spend tomorrow’s paycheck today. 101 Check with your county Extension ofﬁce for other money saving ideas. 92 Be sure the time is right for the best price. It’s oftentimes not what you buy but when you buy it. Jo Turner, Extension Program Specialist, Professor, Human Development and Family Studies, Auburn University Adapted from, “100 Ways to Save Money” by the Mississippi Extension Service. For more information, call your county Extension ofﬁce. Look in your telephone direc- tory under your county’s name to ﬁnd the number. Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work in agriculture and home economics, Acts of May 8 and June 30, 1914, and other related acts, in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The Alabama Cooperative Extension System (Alabama A&M University and Auburn University) offers edu- cational programs, materials, and equal opportunity employment to all people without regard to race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, veteran status, or disability. HE-562 ECP, 10M, Reprinted Oct 1999, HE-562